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Juhyos: Japan’s “snow monsters” reappear

Every winter, the Mount Zao area in Japan is filled with many large and small snow-capped figures that look like magical beings. These numbers are known locally as juhyowhich means “snow monsters”.

According to AccuWeather, a weather forecasting media company, these fascinating numbers are formed when a complex set of weather conditions occur together. The “snow monsters” arise when the wind constantly blows particles of snow and water through the evergreens that surround the snow-capped hills of Mount Zao.

This causes snow and water droplets to solidify against tree branches in different forms. These shapes take shape when fresh snow falls on the trees, giving form to a series of unique “snow monsters”. With rising temperatures, those numbers are melting by the time spring arrives.

Tourists from all over the world visit Mount Zao to see this winter attraction, which can usually be seen between January and mid-March. THE DOORa website dedicated to travel in Japan, indicates that tourists can have an extensive view of juhyos through a cable car that takes you from the foot of Mount Zao to the top of the mountain. Snow figures are often illuminated with colored lights at night, giving them a mystical look.

The creation of juhyos depends entirely on a delicate balance between the right weather conditions. Experts believe that climate change and warmer winters can seriously shorten the appearance of snow figures or eliminate their appearance altogether.